1851 Mining District map defining Santa Cruz County as Branciforte County, establishing Branciforte as the earliest recorded name of our county. In this map, Branciforte County actually extends further north than the present day Santa Cruz County and included a portion of present day San Mateo County.
DEVELOPMENTS ON THE BLOCK
Application for the demolition of the Eye Medical Group building and approval of a 4 story 48 foot tall development has been submitted for the property west of Branciforte Plaza. Currently the Eye Medical Group located at 515 Soquel Avenue, the development would include 51 SRO (single room occupancy) units in a 48 foot tall 4 story building, plus an additional 2 duplexes, for a total of 55 units with underground parking.
This development is still in-flux in terms of size, number of units, and parcels involved. As of our posting here, the site is being planned as presented here.
A 56 unit affordable housing project is being proposed at 708, 712, 718, & 720 Water Street at the existing Hall’s Surrey House Antiques shop property. A public hearing outlined how they are planning to up the development from originally planned 21 unit to 50 units. And as of August 31, 2016 it is now proposed at 56 units. Also of note is that The Breakers apartment complex at 632 Water Street has a pending application to add 20 SROs. The Breakers is marketed as UCSC student housing.Continue reading
Original application was for 7 apartments. Final approved project currently under construction is 4 two-story townhouses. Continue reading
SERIOUS SAFETY ISSUES COMPLETELY IGNORED
This piece of land was taken by the City under eminent domain from the owners of the white house when the 1972 plan was to connect Broadway to Brommer with a road through Arana Gulch. The property owners were told by the City that the land was unbuildable and that it would be used as open space, specifically a park. The owners today have owned the property for nearly 80 years.
Fast forward and presto-chango, City sells it to Habitat for Humanity, and now not only is it buildable, but it’s big enough for two buildings. Because there’s an ADU, no covered parking (aka garage) is required. But they do have tandem parking spots. Now there will be another driveway in the middle of the Frederick/Broadway intersection, with 3 cars backing into the intersection to exit the property. The new fence has been built 26″ from the existing home. This poses some serious access and safety issues to the existing home.Continue reading
Proposed four-story mixed use building containing approximately 1,600 square feet of ground floor commercial space with 13 apartment units in the CC zone district. The proposed plan shows 40 feet tall to roof with an additional 10 feet of structure on top of the roof, likely for housing mechanical elements.
An approved 15 unit apartment, 3.5 stories high, is now under construction at 716 Darwin a few parcels back from Burger King on Soquel. The permit is for 3 stories, but the proposed rendering here shows 3.5 stories.
EXISTING SF HOME DEMOLISHED
Without public notification or a public hearing, a development consisting of 2 duplexes and 1 detached unit (5 units total) has been approved for 618 Windsor Street, on the block between Cayuga Street and Seabright Avenue.
Through public records, we’ve discovered that this development is driven by the same developer of the towering new 3 story duplex at 114 Hall Street, and the lot is approved for 2 duplexes of the same size plus a single family.
A large mixed-use commercial and residential project located on the corner of Soquel Avenue and Hagemann Avenue (May’s Sushi) has been approved by the City Council in a 7-0 vote. The mixed commercial/residential development is 32 small condominiums situated above street-level commercial space spread over two 40 foot tall buildings with nearly 200 feet of Soquel Avenue frontage.Continue reading
A telecommunications facility (cell antenna) has been approved to be installed up the back wall of La Posta restaurant and extending 2.5′ above the roof ridge. Many people have concerns about the health effects of working and living in close proximity to these powerful transmitters. The upstairs is residential. The uppermost part of the antenna will be just over their heads.Continue reading
Verizon is ramping up to install a 4 story cell tower on the Ramos Furniture lot next to Arana Gulch and across Soquel Ave from Whalers Car Wash. A neighborhood group in opposition of the of the tower—a monopole—appealed the installation but the Planning Commission denied the appeal.
Villa de Branciforte celebrates 220 years of history in Santa Cruz
SANTA CRUZ >> Most of the people in the Brancifote Small Schools community room didn’t know native Americans could be held as slaves until 1877 – after the Civil War. Or that they could be considered U.S. citizens only in 1924. Or that they could practice their faiths legally after 1977.
Those and other lessons were instilled during an hour-long seminar Saturday celebrating the 220th anniversary of the Villa de Branciforte at Branciforte Avenue and Water Street.
DeLaveaga Park and Zoo
Officially, this dateline does not exist. Officially, this is Santa Cruz. Officially, Villa de Branciforte breathed its last as a sovereign town in 1905. Officially, there is no “here” here anymore.
Unofficially, Villa de Branciforte lives on in the name of a creek, an avenue, a library branch, two schools, a late 18th-century adobe house and three state-posted historical directional signs along highways 17 and 1. Hidden in plain sight to those unaware, this neighborhood on a hill rising from the east side of the San Lorenzo River is steeped in history that is mostly ignored in the rush of progress and ravages of time.
OPINIONS FROM NEIGHBORS
"It's time for Santa Cruz Government to focus on the support of the quality of life of the town's existing citizens rather than bulldozing their neighborhoods to accommodate future residents."
"We support the efforts to restrict high density development in Seabright. There is not enough water or traffic infrastructure to support these developments. Santa Cruz will lose its charm. Any development should be informed by neighbors, not outsiders. Once the casual, friendly atmosphere is gone, it can never be brought back."
716 Seabright Avenue - 11 townhouses, 2 story SFDs - approved 5/26/15 - more >
716 Darwin Street - 15 apartments, 3 story - more >
430 Frederick Street - 2 story single family plus 1 story ADU on tiny parcel in a dangerous intersection more >
618 Windsor Street - 5 units (2 duplexes, 1 detached unit) - approved 3/3/15 - more >
1800 Soquel Avenue - 32 condos + commercial - 3 story, currently May's Sushi - applied 6/15/15 - more >
530-536 Ocean Street - 63 units + 1,500sf commercial space - approved 7/18/13 - more >
630 Water Street - 17 apartments, addition to the "The Breakers" student apartments - approved 5/13/15 - Google Map
515 Soquel Ave: 55 Units - 4 story with underground parking, currently 1 story Eye Medical Group building - applied for 8/19/15 - more >
1024 Soquel Ave: 13 units + commercial - 4 story mixed-use commercial & residential - applied 9/9/15 - more >
The information shown here is pulled from the City of Santa Cruz Planning Department's eTrakiT Public Permitting Database.
Check it out here >
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Villa de Branciforte & Seabright Residents
Working with developers, the City of Santa Cruz Planning Commission is on a mission to fill up Branciforte and Seabright neighborhoods with very tall, high-density residential developments.
In neighborhoods where predominantly 1 and 2 story homes exist, the City and developers are pushing 3+ story multi-unit developments and cramming them into backyards with minimal setbacks. This is clearly in direct conflict with language written in the General Plans that state proposed developments should be built "in the scale and character of the then-existing homes." Developers have been allowed to go over maximum height with no penalty. Public hearings or public notices are not required on many large projects.
On the Soquel Avenue, Water Street and Ocean Street corridors developments are being planned for as high as 65 feet tall.
City officials do not care about the opinions of hundreds of residents
Too many residents already have development horror stories to tell. We cannot let this continue. In response to the City's dismissive attitude towards the opinions of residents, we aim to bring proposed projects, both approved and applied for, into the awareness of every resident of our development threatened neighborhoods.
No regard for traffic impacts, water issues, public safety, infrastructure, visual impacts, shadow impacts, noise impacts, or historic significance
In the opinion of the City, arguments pointing out water, public safety, infrastructure or historic significance are not valid and will not be considered during the approval process of high-density developments. City-wide, there are at least 800 new units being considered.